Are flash-sales killing the thrill of a bargain?

I’m sat surrounded by packaging, ripped open carelessly to reveal a number of online purchases, also strewn around me. Carnage on my bed, and a not uncommon scene to take place in my room, I am ashamed to admit.

Like many of you, I awoke last Thursday to countless emails from my favourite stores informing me of their ‘Black Friday’ offers. And, like many of you, I obliged like the consumerist shill that I am, to head online and in-store to make the most of said offers. I shopped. The subsequent carnage that took place in my room was due to an ASOS order.

I shopped on ASOS and I browsed in Topshop, falling victim to 20% off at the former, and narrowly avoiding the unwise purchase of yet another leopard print coat in the latter. But after I made my purchases, I found myself wondering how much I actually needed any of these bargains, and am now questioning when I lost that familiar sales excitement.

Festive windows ready to entice shoppers on oxford Street

Every season I open these emails with anticipation and proceed with my sales purchases. The offers never come as a surprise: I can sense an impending sale in the same way my dog is conditioned to sit by his food bowl come 5:59pm every evening, knowing his dinner is coming. I can walk into Zara and know that they’re preparing the store for a sale two days in advance. I say this with pride, of course.

Honestly, the once-thrilling feeling I got when I knew the sales were about to hit has started to wane. More than that, I’m starting to feel somewhat resentful that I am so responsive to a single email. I inhale bargains like my life depends on it, which, obviously, it doesn’t.

I returned three of my four ASOS purchases. The great thing about ASOS is how easy they make returns, after all. But I knew from the moment I tore open the package that I would be going back to the post office to return the majority. And that isn’t just because I didn’t like the purchases or they didn’t fit. It’s because I bought them as a knee-jerk reaction to one email. It was almost like it happened to me, except it didn’t, because I made it happen.

This isn’t a criticism of the entire sales process – it is a criticism of myself. I’ve become so accustomed to receiving an email telling me I have a discount that I’m going through the motions of shopping. And it isn’t exciting anymore. For now, I think, I need to consciously uncouple from my inbox and go back to finding exciting pieces and thrilling bargains all on my own.

Scenes from my Oxford Street expedition

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